Lesson: Pre-reading for Lyddie

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Lesson Objective

To ignite prior knowledge about the Industrial Revolution, child labor, and Katherine Paterson

Lesson Plan

Lesson Topic: Lyddie pre-reading
Enduring Understandings:

  • Freedom and slavery have many forms;
  • There are many ways in which people can be free or not free;
  • freedom vs. responsibility: With freedom comes responsibility, responsibility as a tool for freedom

Essential Questions for the Lesson:

  • What are the criteria for freedom?
  • What makes someone free?
  • What makes someone not free?
  • Where is the line between freedom and responsibility?

Knowledge Outcomes:

  • Students will know their own thoughts about freedom and slavery
  • Students will know how they view the interplay of responsibility/obligation and freedom
  • Students should know how to think about the concepts of freedom and slavery
  • Students will know how to broaden their definitions of freedom and slavery to be non-concrete terms

Evidence of Understanding: Students will compose a stance paper on what it means to be free. They should include criteria for their personal meaning of freedom. They should answer the question “Am I free?” “How am I free? How am I not free?”

There is a reader response rubric:
4: Fully and clearly answers all parts of the question, demonstrates comprehension, thoughtfulness, and empathy; contains personal connections I made to the text; has textual evidence and a page number; clearly shows my thinking
3: Fully answers all parts of the question; demonstrates comprehension and thoughtfulness; shows my thinking
2: Answers the question, but lacks one of some of the following: demonstrates comprehension, thoughtfulness and empathy, contains personal connection, shows my thinking, textual evidence and a page number
1: Incomplete or unclear answer, lacks most of the following: demonstrates comprehension, thoughtfulness and empathy, contains personal connection, shows my thinking, textual evidence and a page number
0: Was not turned in (but will be turned in tomorrow because late work is more responsible than not handing it in at all) 

Sequence of the Lesson:

  • Transition: I will ask the students to gather their reading material, and sit on the rug. One student will sit on a chair in front of the rest, and read out loud for two or three pages. “Gather your book, RRj, stickies and a pencil, and come to the rug.”
  • Hook: Do you think that you have freedom? Freedom, as in the big sense of the word. Freedom with a capital F.
  • Activities:

Directions: “In your Reader's Response Journal, make a T chart. In one column, write down the things in your life that you have to do (ie: you are not free, you must do these things), and why you have to do them. In the other column, write down the things in your life that you can do and want to do/things you are FREE to do.” (Give 3-5 minutes)
Go to a new page and write the following word: Freedom. Write a definition for the word, and list some criteria for freedom. List some situations in which a being is free, and some in which a being is not free.

Turn and Talk:
Students will then look at their criteria of freedom, and compare their list of things they have to do versus things they can do. They will share with the person sitting next to them.
Do you have to do these things, or do you choose to do them?

“Look at your list of things you have to do and things you can do. Do you think that you qualify as having freedom? What are some of the elements of your definition of freedom that you came up with?” Write on chart paper on the board, things like: can make my own decisions, can move around, can decide what to do, can make things happen, not held against will.

“Now let's think of criteria for 'not free' which may or may not be the same as slavery. We are going to stick with the term 'not free' though” Write on chart paper, things like: captured, in jail, must do something, consequences.

I want to come up with some ideas and situations, and we are going to think about if it falls under freedom (do I have a choice? Is it something I choose to do?) or not freedom (I have to do it against my will).

  • taking out the garbage
  • doing my homework
  • a father goes to work 60 hours each week to support his family
  • a speed limit means that drivers must drive under a certain speed or else they will get pulled over
  • In order to have a cell phone, a person has to sign a contract promising to pay for the cell phone minutes for two years
  • “Where does 'responsibility' would go? What are some synonyms for responsibility? Write on chart paper: duty, obligation, the authority to act on one's own
  • Where do we put responsibility? In the criteria for 'free' or for 'not free?'”
  • Do you think there is one definition that we can come up with for 'not free?'

Sponge: Students can work to come up with a definition of freedom, based on class discussion. “Write down a definition of freedom, based on the class discussion and your own personal ideas.” Wrap-up: Exit card: Students will fill out an exit card for the prompt: “How are you free or not free?” Groupwork: The group will work as a whole, with one Turn & Talk. Classroom Environment: Students will use the rug area, which will help the students face one another in discussion. Materials Needed: RRJs, pencil, chart paper Potential Pitfalls: This is a largely unstructured discussion, which could fall into disarray very easily. Differentiation: I will check in with the students to make sure we are understanding the loose definitions of freedom.

Lesson Resources

No resources at this time.


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